The Free State Project has been criticized for some apparent progress of authoritarian policies in New Hampshire. I would often encounter statements such as:

  • “The Democrats took over the legislature in the 2018 election. Doesn’t this suggest that the Free State Project has failed?”
  • “New Hampshire still outlaws marijuana. Doesn’t this suggest that the Free State Project has failed?”
  • “A new gun control law was proposed in New Hampshire. Doesn’t this suggest that the Free State Project has failed?”
  • etc.

I would argue that this objection reflects a profound misunderstanding of the Free State Project.

It’s a Project, Dude!

The first thing that the libertarian-leaning have to realize is that the FSP is a project. It is an exercise that we have to actually execute. We are creating a free state, not moving to an already free state.

Yes, New Hampshire has ranked as #1 or #2 in the state freedom index over the last couple of decades. That was predominantly the reason why we chose New Hampshire. But that doesn’t mean that New Hampshire is already a libertarian state! No, all it means is that, of all those other authoritarian states that are all slowly eroding their citizens’ liberty, New Hampshire is one of the least egregious.

But it is still a state and largely populated by authoritarians. It still has a relatively small libertarian population. It, like all the other states, is still sliding towards greater authoritarianism.

We chose New Hampshire, not because it was already some ‘libertarian paradise’, but because this was the state where we thought we had a decent chance of stopping and even reversing that slide.

But a project requires people and it requires that those people work! Complaining that New Hampshire is still not some ideal libertarian state is like going to the building site of a future skyscraper and complaining that the hole that we dug doesn’t offer any better view of the city. We kind of look at you like you’re a bit dull and then speak slowly to explain, “We haven’t built the skyscraper yet.” And that building is going to take time and effort. We’re going to have advances, and yes, many failures.

Our goal is that shining beacon of liberty; just because all you see right now is a hole in the ground doesn’t mean it has failed; it just means that we’re only starting.  And frankly, we're just starting.

It Requires Your Work!

In order for an authoritarian state to evolve into the most libertarian state, work must be done. Libertarians should take the initiative and make way for change.

And not by libertarian people looking on impatiently from six states over,  wondering why all the work has not yet been completed so that they can move in and enjoy the view, but by libertarian people who move to the building site when it’s just a dream, roll up their sleeves, and start to lift rocks like the rest us so we can eventually set a foundation. A sense of entitlement? An attitude of living off the labors of others? That’s not what libertarianism is all about. That’s what authoritarianism is all about.

Liberty may be a foreign concept to those people who grew up and lived most of their lives in statist states. Fighting for liberty doesn’t mean waiting for some authority to conceive, tax and build you something that you 'need', and with you, not contributing anything, benefit from the labor that the authority stole to build it for you, all the while complaining that the results were undesirable and displeasing.

Liberty means that you have the freedom to craft your own future. And that is all the project, known as the Free State Project, is offering you. It’s saying, “Come here to New Hampshire and help us create — with other liberty lovers — the freest state that we can.”

Telling those of us who have already moved here and who are trying right now to start building something, that the state is not as free yet as you would like it to be eventually, and therefore you’re not going to move here until it is, totally ignores who is supposed to be building the Free State.

Get off your Lookie-Lou butts and come here and help us to build! We will welcome you with open arms.

A Slow Move

Now, I’m sure that Jason Sorens did not anticipate that it would take us 13 years to get 20,000 libertarians to pledge to move to New Hampshire. He must have felt optimistic knowing that most libertarians have been longing to escape their authoritarian states and that most of them would sign up right away. But no, it was a long 13 years of promoting, persuading and hosting big parties that we were able to get a few more people to sign up.

“The Move” didn’t even start until about four years ago. And given how over-optimistic we were on getting libertarians just to sign their intention to move, most of us think that it’s going to take us a while for those 20,000 people to move up here.    But it would take a lot less time if you — yes, you — were to move today.

So far, we have over 2,000 libertarians who have pulled up stakes from their statist states and have moved to NH (and another 2,000 NH residents who have joined us in our efforts). But the move was scheduled for 20,000 libertarians, and so with only 2,000 libertarians who have moved so far, we are only about 10% close to the goal.

And remember, the move is only Stage 2. (Stage 1 being to get liberty-minded people to sign up to move.) Stage 3 is actually creating that liberty in the Free State, in collaboration with all the other libertarians who will have by then moved here.

Judging the “outcome” of the project when we are only 1/10th of the way through the Stage 2 mobilization part of it, ignores how big a task creating a free state is. If this were easy, it would already have been done. It needs us because it is hard.  And we need you to be hard to get it done!

So, instead of noting that the outcome isn’t perfect yet, settle up your affairs and get out here. You’ll be helping so much more to create the outcome we all want.

No Top-Down Goal

One of the frustrating things for us movers is when non-movers look at all the work that is left to do and complain that their pet <Policy Area X> is not up to their standards yet, and so they won’t deign to consider moving until we make it acceptable to them. Well, without some authoritarian ruler here directing what we must do, who do you think decides what gets done first and how it’s done? That would be you!

Two weeks ago, a Free Stater decided to really focus on supporting shooting ranges. He created a new group amongst the already-moved FSPers, and became a success. They are talking legislation, and start-ups, and older shooting ranges, and are patronizing places together, and joining boards and coordinating with outside agencies.

That is what a “project” looks like. It means, you see a need, you gather the FSP allies, and you make your own pizza pie.

{Kramer explains Make Your Own Pizza}

And in this distributed, bottom-up way, the resultant Free State that we will create up here in New Hampshire when 20,000 ... 40,000 .. 80,000 libertarians are living here, will not have been detailed beforehand in some white paper written in an academic department of a leftist college; the actual Free State that we create will be revealed by the actual actions of the liberty lovers — like you — who moved up here to do the work to create their Free State.

Other Migrants

New Hampshire is right now in a migration battle between Free Staters and Authoritarians. You see, authoritarians are also moving here, for some of the reasons why we chose New Hampshire (e.g., low crime, no income tax, no sales tax, etc.)

But the thing about authoritarians is they want to take advantage of the outcomes of freedom, thinking that freedom can always be improved a bit by just a little more authoritarianism. And so, they come from their bottom-of-freedom-states (Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Vermont) and slowly start making New Hampshire the same place they just escaped from.

For sure, our migration is accelerating. And let’s face it, all we’re asking for here is 20,000 to move. 20,000 liberty movers are just a small portion of the number of us liberty lovers who should be here. Why shouldn’t we have 100,000 libertarians in this state? We’re more than 1/50th of the population of the US, why shouldn’t we have 1/50th of the states?

If you think about it, we have about three million pretty hard-core libertarians (1%) in the United States, almost 100% of whom are really frustrated with their states and their inability to turn back the ever-rising authoritarianism. And if you expand our definition to include “pretty libertarian”, we have maybe 10 million. And heck, if you expand it to the “liberty leaning”, we have maybe 60 million who could conceivably come and join us.

And why shouldn’t we, who desire just one free state out of 50 otherwise authoritarian states — erect some big signs on the Interstate:

You Are Entering New Hampshire
Live Free or Die!
All Freedom Lovers Welcomed
(Note: Please Continue to an Adjoining State
If You Require Greater Governance.) 

Look, there are lots of reasons not to move to the Free State yet — especially if you are hoping that someone else will build it for you.

But aren’t you tired of being a minuscule minority, despised simply because you don’t believe in initiating violence against your otherwise peaceful, innocent neighbors? Wouldn’t you be happier if you weren’t complaining about ever-encroaching totalitarianism, but were actually creating more and more liberty each day? ]

Don’t you yearn to be able to breathe free? To wake up in the morning with the knowledge in your heart that today, in this one corner of an otherwise violent, coercive, authoritarian world, you’ll be going to sleep just a little bit freer? Wouldn’t you rather be surrounded by people whose primary ethic is not to initiate violence against you, who won’t steal your stuff or make you obey their whims, who won't use psychopathic politicians as proxies for their evil, violent methods?

Don’t you want to tell your grandchildren that you didn’t just whine about the lack of freedom for humanity? No, you built freedom, and that is the reason why they have the opportunity for even greater liberty in their lives?

Well, if that’s you,

Bienvenue au New Hampshire
Live Free or Die!
All Freedom Lovers Welcomed

Join us fighting for freedom!